In my article, ‘The various levels of love’, I stated that there are different levels of love. Therefore, love cannot be defined in one encompassing sentence. In other words, there are different kinds of love; some of which are more intense than the others. Of all the kinds of love that exist, unconditional love is the strongest and rarest. Unconditional love is a kind of love where endless concern and interest is shown for other people’s welfare, happiness, and success, regardless of the absence of any psychological or material reward. It is another term for ‘Loving-in-agony’. By extension, a person who shows unconditional love may experience all manners of abuses, yet chooses to show great concern for his/her abuser. Based on this premise, it is easy for many people to acknowledge unconditional love as an unhealthy and self-destructive feeling. Still, it carries within it a rare beauty.
Unconditional love is indeed extremely rare for too many reasons. For example, scarcely anyone would want to go ‘through hell’ to achieve ‘nothing’. For every action, there is always a desired result-expected; that is the law of human motivation. Motivation exists because there is a perceived reward. But to act without any reward in sight, and worse, to endure perpetual pain and torture while no reward is in sight is indeed an extremely difficult thing to do. A person who has decided to show unconditional love to somebody has decided to live through a seemingly undesirable life for one reason or the other. Unconditional love can indeed be shown, but not without pain and suffering. It would seem a completely meaningless thing to do, except for the fact that it has helped a lot of badly behaved people turn a new leaf. Therefore, unconditional love is a type of love that never gives up on other people, despite evidence that such people are hopelessly doomed.
An example of unconditional love is a man, who, despite discovering that his wife is boldly and unabashedly having sexual relations with several men, continues to treat her as though she were his constant heart-throb; as though he were under a spell. Logically, the man would be miserable in the relationship, and would want to be happy. Remaining in that relationship is clearly self-punishing. Yet, the man may choose to remain in this relationship because he believes that his relationship with his wife is having a significant impact in her life. Abandoning his wife could make her worse off; he is therefore doing his wife a great favour, despite suffering in the process. While some people would see that as clearly absurd, there are also those who may see this as quite heroic. It depends on each individual’s perspective.
The overwhelming majority of the people in the world want to be happy in their lives. They want more comfort, not discomfort. They drift towards pleasure and drift away from pain. For this reason, they will never show unconditional love to other people. Some mothers (and perhaps, fathers) are able to show unconditional love to their children because they brought their children into this world and believe that they are responsible for their welfare. They may be willing to endure great pain and distress for them in the hope that their children may improve their character; parents should never have to give up on their own children. The true nature of unconditional love is punishing and miserable. Yet, its essence in the human world is great. Without unconditional love shown by all people, the world can never become a better place. Alas, in showing unconditional love to other people, distress is inevitable. For this reason, unconditional love is extremely rare.